Volunteer Opportunities for Teens
By Ken K on November 17, 2021
You are never too young to make a difference in your community. In fact, as a teenager, you are perfectly poised to help tackle issues and problems through volunteering. Members of Gen Z (a.k.a. you!) are considered to be incredibly creative, cause-oriented, and cognizant of the world around them, and there are a variety of teen volunteer opportunities to showcase these attributes.
Whether you need to fulfill required community service hours or you are simply looking to give back, there are many volunteer opportunities for teens to take part in. Below are some of our favorite organizations with teen volunteer programs** **in the United States (and a couple abroad!) We love them because these organizations tap into the potential of teens by providing opportunities specifically for youths.
The American Red Cross is one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world. It handles important issues like disaster relief, blood donations, and health and safety certifications. The organization offers many teen volunteer opportunities and great resources on how you can get involved. You can even start your own Red Cross Club at school if you are feeling extra inspired!
There is no place like home, and Habitat for Humanity is on a mission to make this the case for everyone. Habitat for Humanity helps families build and improve places to call their home. By volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, you can quite literally play a role in building up your community. Their Habitat Youth Programs accept volunteers between the ages of 5 and 40, and you can participate in activities like home construction and affordable housing advocacy.
Based in the UK, GVI provides many summer volunteer programs for high school students internationally. These programs address important local and global issues by providing opportunities to work on sustainable development projects. GVI programs are usually partnered or affiliated with other international partners such as Save The Children, WWF, The Red Cross, and PADI.
If you want to volunteer overseas, Projects Abroad allows high school students to do so by helping them get involved with meaningful global projects. The organization provides excellent in-country support from program staff to ensure a safe and fun experience. Check out how you can volunteer abroad in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and more!
Want to work with cute animals? The Humane Society was established to end animal cruelty, and you can easily find volunteer opportunities in your local area to join the fight. You can surround yourself with furry friends by working in your local shelter. Alternatively, if you want to avoid getting pet hair on your clothes, you can volunteer by phone banking or participating in other outreach activities.
Key Club is a service program built specifically for high schoolers. Since 1925, the organization has facilitated volunteer opportunities for high school students. These clubs are student-led, so you can have direct say in which projects you want to get involved with. There’s a good chance that there is already a chapter in your school, but if there isn’t, you can start one yourself.
If you just got your driver’s license, congratulations! You can put it to good use by volunteering for Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels is on a mission to meet the nutritional and social needs of seniors, and it operates in virtually every community of America. Connect with your local provider to get involved with its high school volunteer opportunities.
Looking to make some new friends? Best Buddies is dedicated to ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. You can either join a school chapter or start your own. It’s a wonderful way to create inclusivity in your community through the power of friendship.
We only have one planet, so let’s protect it. The Sierra Club bands members together in the fight for a liveable planet, safe communities, and a democracy that works for everyone. They have a youth-focused Sierra Student Coalition and provide many environment-related volunteer opportunities for teens. You can clean up outdoor spaces, lead nature outings, or lend your voice to environmental campaigns.
Schoolhouse.world is a platform for free, peer-to-peer tutoring for high school students, and we want to ensure that anyone, anywhere can receive live help. We have a global volunteer community, so you can be based anywhere in the world and still contribute to our mission! On Schoolhouse, you can tutor your peers by first joining our website and becoming certified in one or more topics we offer. Once you become certified, you can start hosting your own peer tutoring sessions. These tutoring sessions are available for students across the world who need help in high-school math, SAT prep, and more. Plus, you’ll be able to track the work you do as volunteer and service hours for college applications.
Most organizations encourage and welcome teenagers to help out, so if the aforementioned programs don’t speak to you, there are plenty of other volunteer opportunities for teens you can find. Simply search “volunteering for teens,” and you’ll find hundreds of non-profits who welcome students under the age of 18 as volunteers. Whatever program you decide to give your time to, volunteering will help you develop important life skills, such as empathy, cultural awareness, and a lifelong passion for service.